Nas – NASIR Review

This is a nice collection of songs but it does not feel like a total album. It might have some great moments, but it only feels like a piece of something bigger.

The productions is great with a lot of different offerings opening up a lot of avenues for content. The way it plays through can feel a little stop and go, but it does work for the duration of this project, although not anything longer. The main issue is that anything longer wouldn’t work, but this feel surprisingly short, while replay ability is moderate it can feel the listener feeling cheated.

The lyricism is clever and sharp, as Nas always is. Widely acknowledged as one of the greatest wordsmiths of the modern age, Nas does not disappoint with his wordplay on this release. His performance on here will help show the newest generation of rappers, not to throw shade at the older generation because they can still do a damn good job.

The features all help to build this track up, but on such a short project, it is a shame to see time taken from the main artist. They do a good job of showing their skills as well as add more cohesiveness to the release. It would be interesting to see how Nas would interact with a few other artists, but its good he kept at least that much time for himself on here.

Overall, this is a nice selection platter for what Nas is capable of, but is not totally satisfying. Maybe on his next release, it will feel like a meal, rather than a sample.

Advertisements

DJ Khaled – Grateful Review

This release is full of big names and big tracks that make this a very entertaining listen. With DJ Khaled acting more like a  on this album, only the best tracks make the cut, and this album proves it.

The production is varied but always interesting. Every beat is energetic and works very well with the artists chosen to work on it. There may be something for everyone, but most will appeal to any listener as they are all polished and work as a full listen through as well as individual songs.

The Features on here make this project such a success. All show great skill and have great chemistry with the other artists on the songs as well as DJ Khaled. It is possible that some guests further from his comfort zone may have made some more interesting moments, but DJ Khaled has chosen most of the biggest names in Hip Hop to be a part of this release, and they don’t disappoint.

Overall, this is great for those who want to stick on an album and not use the skip button at all, leaving it to play through. DJ Khaled continues to have enormous success with his albums, but it should be noted that it is mostly down to other artists work. Not to take from Khaled’s ability to bring artists together, but most of the entertainment value is down to the features and not him shouting out during the project.

Rick Ross – Rather You Than Me Review

This release show more of a softer side of Ross that listeners might not have expected. There are a few of the more street based tracks, but they appear to have less effort put into them than then slower ones that Ross shines on here.

The production is great with a few gritty beats mixed in with the slower, emotional ones. The slowed down ones leave room for Ross to be more creative, whereas there is so much going on in the backing with the energetic ones that the lyrics can get lost. On the whole, it is a good choice to try to balance the productions but if you do, then you should put equal effort into both.

The lyricism is good with Ross doing more to prove he is lyrically nice on this project. While not evident on every track, the verses on this show personal growth as well as a possible increase in skill. Rick Ross does well to flex his lyrical muscles on these tracks, but maybe still try on the more hood based efforts too.

The features are good and help build up the cohesiveness of this project. Each does a great job of showing what they bare capable of and how it blends with the styles of the others on the songs. Maybe trying to bring up new artists could help solidify his status as a rap great, but the guest selection on here is fit for purpose and works well.

Overall, this is a great release for Ross as it shows he is still working on his talents and becoming the best to ever do it. Maybe trying to improve on the formulas he is using for a few of his songs might help, but this works as a project.

Various Artists – The Hamilton Mixtape Review

This release is incredible. Everyone knows how great the songs from Hamilton are, and letting these artists re-imagine them shows that they work as more than story telling devices in the show.

The production is great with some of the original Broadway backings used so the artists can give their own impression or interpretation of the originals. Where new songs have been created or tweaked, there are no missteps and actually helps keep the listen through fresh. This is a clever re-imagining of an already successful show and should help bring even more attention to it.

The lyricism is fantastic as Lin-Manuel crafted stunning rhymes from the original used in a lot of the tracks here. The new lines are all amazing with fantastic imagery and passion put into the messages of the songs. These tracks are put together with such a close eye on the precision of the craft that each of these feels almost brand new, despite there already being versions of a lot of them.

The selection of artists on here are fantastic. Each compliments the part they play on here in style and fits the need of the track perfectly. There are no problems at all with these features.

Overall, this is a really incredible showing of not only the talent of the artists, but how to put a release together. Lin-Manuel had a bright future after the musical release, but this will help solidify him as a future for music everywhere.

French Montana – Mac & Cheese 4 Review

This project is good, fun and energetic which is sometimes what the audience needs. There are a few emotional songs, but Montana remains in his comfort zone for the majority.

The production is very bouncy with a lot of club atmosphere as well as some street beats to help keep this mixtape fresh. With so much power behind the boards, there is a lot of drive pushing this project forward that the backings provide a lot of the entertainment here. The beat selection is great for the music that French Montana wants to make.

The lyricism is straight forward but is effective in places. The rhymes are not made to be the most lyrical and his shouting at the end of almost every line doesn’t help make this more interesting. He knows what his fans want, and supplies that, but doesnt push French doesn’t push himself to be better.

The features help to make this more cohesive and to break up the monotony of hearing French Montana shout. Each puts in good effort and their styles alleviate some more of the similarities between the songs. Some more singing could have added another dimension to this mixtape, but French Montana knows what his fans expect and there are some huge names on here to assist with that.

Overall, this is a good romp through what a formulaic hip hop hit sounds like, but it lacks a lot of substance. French Montana may want to evolve his content if he wants to have more longevity in his career.

DJ Khaled – Major Key Review

This album had high hopes, but falls flat a lot more than it soars. Some tracks come across as cohesive genius whereas others seem more like formulaic noise to try and bring in more listeners who are not Hip Hop educated.

The production is good in places and great in others. There is a lot of energy running through the project but in a lot of places the elements in the tracks become more merged together into background noise rather than being effectively tools. Maybe some more beats with less happening in them would open up more space for the artists.

The features all do their job and most do it well to help flesh out this project. The verses tend to be effective but the hooks come across as repetitive in a lot of cases which really lets the album down. Some more imagination in that particular aspect would go a long way.

Overall, Khaled has made his playlist of high value artists and put together a collection of music that will appeal to most. However only a few tracks will remain with the listener.

Rick Ross – Black Market Review

This album shows both the strengths and weaknesses of Rick Ross. The songs tend to have good verses but the hooks really lack the flair to carry the song home.

The production is good with the atmosphere of each track being captured perfectly. There is plenty of energy running through the whole album and even the sombre moments having a certain bounce to them. Maybe some more traditional sounds could show that Ross has not forgotten how music has evolved but there are no real issues with the beat selection.

The lyricism is alright in the verses with most of the effort going into the delivery. While some of the hooks are ok, they tend to be the ones with features doing them. With more creativity going into the hooks and some more attempts at lyrical devices to up his rhymes, Ross could stop being considered the bottom of the top and start climbing some more.

The features do a good job of giving comparison points for Ross. Each on thier own does a great job of thier part while also helping to make thier tracks more cohesive with the rest of the project. There is a good balance of rappers to singers and the features may be one of the best points on this album.

Overall, this is a good album for those who like Ross but it can be difficult to sit through with the hooks being so plain. Creativity is needed in music.